By Naseer Ahmed, New Age Islam
14 September 2018
Muslims are somewhere at the bottom of the heap in secular fields as well as in
moral standards. A Muslim is most unsafe in a Muslim country but safer in
secular countries. The fate of minorities in Islamic countries is pathetic and
in countries like Pakistan, the minorities are targeted with impunity, with
state complicity and with laws that discriminate. Non-Muslim countries have a
better record in every humanitarian activity such as accepting refugees while
rich Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE have very little to
show. Civilisational development refers to the state of development
of human society, its
culture, science, industry, and government and on every
parameter of civilisational development; the Muslims are at the bottom of the
heap, and in comparison, with the rest of the world, they are barbarians.
societies and cultures were at some point in their past, worse off than the
Muslims today, and their worst was worse than the worst of the Muslims if that
is any consolation. They progressed rapidly on every parameter, only when they
moved away from the strangle-hold of their religion and became secular in their
outlook. The Muslims on the other hand are more “religious” than every other
community. Is that the reason then of their backwardness? The logical answer to
that question is a yes. Should the Muslims therefore take a lesson from this
and move away from their religion? These are questions to which the Ulema must
find answers or else the Muslims will move away from religion.
undeniable that it is religion that has given to mankind moral values and
precepts that have in the first place helped us build cultures and
civilization. It was Islam that transformed Muslim society in the seventh
century and took Islamic culture and civilization ahead of the rest on every
parameter of civilization where it remained upto the tenth century, but has
stagnated ever since, and declined rapidly from the time of its colonization by
European powers or even earlier. Is Islam unequal to the challenge or does
Islam limit the potential for development to where we stand today? Has it
outlived its utility? What is Islam? Is it what the scholars in the past has
defined to be Islam? I will endeavour to answer this question.
theology is extremely bigoted and parochial. The Muslims worship not the Rabbul
Alamin (God of all creation) but a lesser tribal god who is rabbul Muslimin or
god of only the Muslims. In Islamic theology therefore, only the followers of
Muhammad (pbuh) are Muslims and the rest of mankind are Kafir or infidels. The
Quran however, has a vey secular definition of Islam and the Muslim. Islam is
simply the religion of submission to God and to His commands to follow the
moral code of living, and all those who do so, are Muslims. The Quran includes
in the definition of Muslim, the Jews, Christians, Sabians, the Buddhists and
Nay,-whoever submits His whole self to Allah and is a doer of good,- He will
get his reward with his Lord; on such shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.
There cannot be a more secular
definition of Islam and a Muslim than what the Quran defines.
What about the polytheists? There is
no verse in the Quran that refers to all the polytheists of the Prophet’s times
and his immediate audience as Kafir, but only those who were active enemies of
the new religion and among the persecutors. Anyone who persecutes another for
his religion, even if it be a “Muslim” who persecutes a polytheist, is a Kafir.
I have put Muslim within quotes, because a Muslim is one who submits to the
commands of Allah and Allah commands that “Let there be no compulsion in
religion” (2:256). This is an absolute, unconditional and eternal law which the
persecutors violate and therefore by definition such persecutors are Kafir and
cannot be called Muslim.
standard of justice in Islam is perfectly secular.
(4:135) O ye who believe!
stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah (Shuhadalillah), even
as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be
(against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts
(of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do
justice, verily Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.
What is stressed in the verse above is perfect secular justice
disregarding every other consideration as witnesses to Allah from whom nothing
(5:8) O ye who believe!
stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing (Shuhadabilqist), and
let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from
justice. Be just: that is next to piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is
well-acquainted with all that ye do.
It is made amply clear that justice cannot be comprised for any
extraneous consideration and must be rendered in a manner that can be justified
to Allah from whom nothing is hidden regarding your motives or the facts of the
case and in turn providing evidence (witness) of your submission to Allah and
His divine attributes of Oneness, Exalted Power and Wisdom.
The attribute of Oneness make all equal in the sight of Allah
which must be reflected while rendering justice. The reminder of Allah’s
attribute of Absolute Power helps to resist the pull of every other extraneous
consideration. ‘Justice’ rendered by allowing extraneous consideration to
influence is oppression. The opposite of justice is oppression and an
oppressor witnesses or provides evidence of evil or Iblis/Satan. Rendering
perfect justice provides evidence of Allah and His attributes as well as of the
judge’s submission to such a deity.
The attribute of Wisdom requires rendering justice tempered with
compassion since Allah has inscribed for Himself the rule of mercy. The rule of
mercy makes the objective of justice promoting the greater good of the society
while protecting the rights of the individual.
Although Islam is a religion, it is as secular a religion as it is
possible for a religion to be. While we follow its commands for a moral living
as the commands of God, each such command can be subject to secular or
scientific scrutiny to establish whether these commands achieve the objective
of maximizing human potential, welfare and happiness. Subjecting the religious
commands to such a scrutiny is what Allah commands us to do to better
appreciate His wisdom. This is what I have done in scrutinizing the
controversial topics in Islam in the following articles:
The Morality or the Immorality of the Institution of
Slavery and the Quranic Permission That Allowed Sex with Female Slaves
The Story of the Prophetic Mission of Muhammad (pbuh)
From the Qu’ran (Part 6): The People of the Book and Jiziya
Qur’anic Wisdom: Marriage and Treatment of Women
Is A Woman’s Testimony Worth Half That of A Man?
Following are links to some of my articles that bring out the vast
chasm between the Islam of the Quran and the Islam of the theologians:
The Momineen and the Kafirin
Revisiting the Meaning of Kafir
The Importance of Getting the Story Right on the
Divine Plan Allah
The Quran Is the Perfect, Infallible Word of God,
Even If All the Muslims Misunderstand It
A Complete Agenda for Reform in Islamic Theology
Religious creeds brought people
together making large scale human cooperation possible. However, if the
religious creeds are of the type that encourage “Us vs They” kind of thinking,
they limit this cooperation to the in-group and promote hostility towards the
“other”. Cultures and civilizations based on such creeds stagnate and are
hopelessly out of sync with the modern globalized world. It is precisely for
this reason that Judaism stagnated and the Jews did not distinguish themselves
in any field until the 19th century. All their great achievements have been
only in the last two centuries. From the 19th century onwards, it is the
secularised Jews in Germany under a hostile environment who distinguished
themselves in the sciences. No orthodox Jew ever won a Nobel prize in any
Secularism today is the most successful
creed because it is secularism that has made the goal of globalization possible
bringing people of every religion or no religion together. The Islam of the
Quran first gave us the very same ideas of secularism recognizing other faith
systems as Islam and their followers as Muslims and making religious
persecution and any kind of oppression the most serious crime against which war
is ordained. The Muslims have been unfaithful to their creed. The Islam of the
Quran seeks to unite all the good people of the world in a common cause to
fight against all kinds of oppression and injustice. This goal of the Quran is
the goal of every secularist making them the best among the Muslims and
unsurprisingly the most successful. Secularism is however the most foul word
for the Muslims because they think incorrectly, that all secularists are atheists.
Secularists could be atheists, agnostics or religious but they certainly
believe in morality and ethics and today, it is the secularists alone who have
achieved the Islamic goal of secular justice and uniting all good people
together in common causes. 13:11 “Allah
does not change a people´s lot unless they change what is in themselves”.
The Muslims wrong themselves.
The Islam according to the Islamic theology of every sect is an
anti-thesis of the Islam of the Quran. The Islam of the theologians is in a
dead-end street, responsible for the stagnation of Muslim society for centuries
and without a clue as to how to extricate itself from the rut in which it finds
itself. Muslims who care about their religion, must propagate the Islam of the
Quran and dump the Islam of the theologians or else the writing is on the wall
- the Muslims unable to discover the true Islam of the Quran themselves, will
leave Islam in hordes as it is already happening.
Naseer Ahmed is an Engineering
graduate from IIT Kanpur and is an independent IT consultant after having
served in both the Public and Private sector in responsible positions for over
three decades. He is a frequent contributor to NewAgeIslam.com
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